Tuesday, November 27, 2012

May the Force Be With You, 1884 EPD

-Detail from photo of the 1884 Erie Police Dept. from Erie Dispatch, January 11, 1920.
Joseph Ferguson was the Chief of Police in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1884 when there were a couple dozen coppers on the force. I'm looking for real photos of the Erie Police Department. The older the better. Copies from the old newspapers just don't cut it. 

Daniel Mitchell was captain of the police department circa 1884-85. Patrolmen included Patrick Applebee, William Brown, Thomas Culhane, Cornelius Daily, Jacob Dudenhoffer, Michael Emling, William J. Grant and Henry Gross

John W. Henry, James Higgins, J. P. Hiller, Roger Kane, John Kelly, Jacob Metz, T. Jefferson Miller, Mark Morrison, Adolf Pamperrien, John Sandusky, George Schaffer and Peter Shufel also served as patrolmen at this time. 

I'm also looking for a photo of Chief Crowley, or any unidentified photos of Erie police officers. Chief Crowley is mentioned in the book Memoirs of a Great Detective .

Did one of your ancestors serve on the E.P.D.? Do you recognize one of them in the picture above or see their name in the list? If you do, please leave a comment below.

If you've visited Erie before or lived here for a time, reminisce at Old Time Erie


  1. Chief Tom Crowley just missed being in this picture; he died of Bright's Disease at age 53, in 1883. His death notice appeared in many papers, including the New York Times.

  2. A.P. I can find most of the Crowley family graves, but Chief Crowley and his wife seem to be lost. We had his gold headed cane for years at our home in Millcreek on Marshall Drive, but I believe it was at my father's house when he passed. Well, any information you have on the chief would be welcomed by his great-great grandson Mike.

  3. John Wilson Murray was a member of the Erie Police Force just prior to these photos. He later became a famous Canadian detective and is credited as the first Ontario Provincial Police officer. He has some very fond anecdotes of his close friend, Chief Crowley, in his book "Memoirs of a Great Detective". Several short stories about his life and work in Eerie. You would need to get the original version from 1906 though, because a very abridged version came out later. Search for it on Abebooks.com. I know the original is very rare and goes for around $100.00.

  4. (For Anonymous from February 8, 2013)


    1) Chief Tom Crowley's parents Michael and Mary O'Neal Crowley do not have markers in Trinity Cemetery, because they died too early and were not re-interred. I suggest their graves are somewhere on the old Crowley spread, probably near the old stone house along East Lake Road. If you find that family plot, I'll bet Chief Tom is there too.

    2) Alternatively, I see via Find-A-Grave that there is a small marble gravestone in Trinity Cemetery that says Thomas Crowley, no dates. This is not Chief Tom Crowley's uncle Thomas (my g-g-g-grandfather, 1788-1861) because he and his wife have an elegantly inscribed stone elsewhere in the cemetery, probably added a couple of decades postmortem, when their property was sold and they were re-interred at Trinity. Nor is this stone likely to be Chief Tom's first cousin Thomas Crowley (1820-1898 my g-g-grandfather) because that branch of the family had moved down to Union Township and are not buried in Trinity.

    1. I believe they are on the property with daughter Mary. Chief Crowley had a second wife and a daughter Clara Belle and he could be buried with them. I am 5th generation of Michael and Mary and hope to find them all.

    2. Second wife, Clara Bell's mother, was Eliza Ann Downey, who like the first wife did not live long. Erie Observer lists the marriage as 1 Feb 1865. Eliza is in the 1870 US Census, gone thereafter. (I am fifth generation of Thomas and Ellen, your distant uncle and aunt.)

  5. Went. to the Erie library, found Chief Crowley's obit and saw he was buried from the Catholic Cathedral and body taken to the Catholic cemetery. Found him buried at Trinity Cemetery, section E, lot 25, no marker at all, but we intend to take care of that. fitzgerald@psualum.com